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MP hits out at plans for rail ticket offices

SOLIHULL MP Lorely Burt has accused a rail firm of “absolute stupidity” over plans to slash ticket office opening times.

SOLIHULL MP Lorely Burt has accused a rail firm of “absolute stupidity” over plans to slash ticket office opening times.

This week she slammed proposals by London Midland, which will affect six railway stations in Solihull.

Under the proposals, which we featured last week, the ticket booths will be opening later and shutting earlier than presently.

Eighty-six stations will be affected by the changes, with the loss of 130 jobs.

“I just can’t understand why they would do this, it seems completely counter-productive,” said Mrs Burt.

“What about old people or the disabled who won’t be able to get on with ticket machines.

“Or lots of people, including myself, who are just used to having a member of staff at the station.”

Opening hours will be cut at Berkswell, Hampton-in-Arden, Marston Green, Olton, Shirley and Widney Manor. In some cases, ticket offices that stay open until close to midnight will shut by the early afternoon.

There are fears this will deter elderly passengers from using the network, while encouraging fare-dodgers.

Mrs Burt said she had contacted London Midland and mounted a petition against reducing opening hours.

Transport authority Centro are also demanding answers and have summoned rail bosses to their next meeting (on March 28).

London Midland said a consultation was underway and it would be listening to the views of passengers and other interested parties.

The company said it planned to cut hours because of a dwindling number of people using the ticket office.

 

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